Former crack addict turned politician thinks banning pipes and bongs will stop people from using drugs


Darryl Rouson used to be a crack addict. But his life took a turn for the worse when he quit and became a politician. On Wednesday, Rouson's "bong bill" was unanimously approved by the Florida Legislature and is awaiting the Governor's signature.

Rousen says that restricting the sale of pipes and bongs will discourage people from smoking cannabis and crack cocaine.

Under the bill, only shops where the sale of tobacco products and accessories constitute 75% of income or shops where the sale of pipes and bongs constitutes less than 25% of income will be allowed to sell a long list of smoking devices. These include pipes of any material, water pipes, carburetion tubes and devices, chamber pipes, carburetor pipes, electric pipes, air-driven pipes, chillums, bongs, and ice pipes or chillers.
So if a crack addict can't buy a pipe from a head shop, is he going to shrug his shoulders and become a state representative? Or is he going to "use glass stems, broken antennas, small liquor bottles, really anything they can get their hands on to smoke," as one commenter in the news story wrote?

I wonder what this poor fellow, who lost his motorcycle spark plugs to a crackhead, would have to say about this law?

Paraphernalia: Florida Legislature Passes Bill Banning Bong Sales

(Photo of crack pipe by TedsBlog, CC Attribution license.)


  1. Well, back when I had a crack-headed roommate (in Florida, too!) he used a tin can with a few holes poked in it.

    I dont think this will have any impact other than curbing a smoke shop’s profit margin.

  2. i bet he’s got no interest in the amateur sociology experiment i did one time where i picked up a “normal looking” guy downtown, helped him find a place to score a rock, went with him to a store where he bought a clear bic pen, and a piece of one of those metal pan scrubbers (wonder why this inner-city convenience store sold such things???) and had a workable pipe in 5 minutes with less than $2 spent. ignorant pols.

  3. “I wonder what this poor fellow, who lost his motorcycle spark plugs to a crackhead, would have to say about this law?”

    Ban motorcycles. It’s the only way forward.

    1. Also make sure to ban lightbulbs and apples (really, any fruit at all).

      If anything, this will just make drug users slightly more inventive, or they’ll just have to order their pipes online.

    2. Don’t forget bear-shaped honey bottles and aluminum beverage cans of all varieties.

      Is Florida in such great financial shape that the legislature can afford to waste time on this?

  4. Thinking that restricting the availability of paraphernalia will curb usage is downright moronic. This is just an attempt by a reformed addict to justify his existence and past actions.

  5. Will they ban plumbing supplies, plastic bottles and wood next? And how about the internet and the many fine vendors there?

    I often think we need to make legislative sessions as short as possible to limit these jackass bills from becoming law.

    Maybe Georgians can open a bunch of head shops along the border. It works for Alabama and South Carolina with fireworks, after all.

  6. “Crack-addled politician ‘thinks’ banning pipes and bongs will stop people from using drugs”

  7. I don’t know how you’d smoke out of a sparkplug shard, and there are easier pipes to improvise anyway. Chances are that crackhead was harvesting “ninja rocks“.

  8. Maybe he’s on to something. I overcame alcoholism by accidentally misplacing my brandy snifter.

  9. But his life took a turn for the worse when he quit and became a politician.

    Thanks for that Mr Frauenfelder.

  10. And with one fell swoop, Florida agrees to put shitloads of money into the pockets of the tobacco industry just so people have to continue to pretend that they use glass pipes and bongs to smoke tobacco, and head shops are forced to dump money into stocking their shelves with products that they know people aren’t there to buy. Bravo.

  11. Does this bill really even ban pipes though? If 75% of your income is through the sale of tobacco and “tobacco accessories”, well, that seems to describe just about every head shop ever. It would appear this bill will ban accessories from being sold at convenience stores or wal mart (as if wal mart would stock them, well, they might have corn-cob pipes I guess).
    The problem might come from the fact that very few head shops (in my experience, YMMV) sell only tobacco and accessories, for instance, in my area several are also tattoo parlors, and one is an adult bookstore, I imagine they bring in most of their income from tatts and porn respectively and yet still likely have greater than 25% of their income from pipes. It would appear then that this bill will force retailers to choose to be solely head shops if they wish to continue to sell paraphernalia (and if they’ve already diversified out of solely the head shop business, it’s likely that selling just pipes isn’t profitable enough). Perhaps this will lead existing businesses to incorporate their tattoo parlor or porn store or whatever separately from their head shop and operate them both out of the same storefront.
    But as to the bill’s actual goals, they’re quite laughable, I don’t know how one smokes crack, but with weed, smokers can simply go back to a simpler time when they rolled it in paper or cigar leaves, or Macgyver a bong out of simple household materials.

    1. No, no, no. Sorry, but not even that gets to the true real source of the problem– inhaling.

  12. a friend showed me how to use a drink can as an ersatz weed pipe. I’ve heard of apples hollowed out for this purpose. My mom used to work at walreen’s. On the late shift people would buy tire pressure guages, use them as pipes.

    This would work if the reason people smoked was the convenience. As chris rock once said “you won’t get rid of drugs until you get rid of pain”

  13. Damn, I can never become a politician because I never burned out my brain cells, especially the critical thinking ones.

    This is the very definition of crack-pot legislation!

    Somehow I’ll bet “corn cob” and other traditional tobacco use pipes will somehow remain exempt. You can’t possibly smoke anything else in these.

  14. I have no experience whatsoever with crack, but for cannabis, I guess he’ll have to go ahead and ban cigarette papers. And cigarettes. And regular tobacco pipes. And bottles of water. And PVC pipes. And hollow twigs. And clay. And this is just from the top of my head.

    1. And PVC pipes

      This is the real shame about these sorts of things, proper equipment plays a huge role in safety and harm reduction. If you smoke out of PVC you’re inhaling some pretty gnarly chemicals related to chlorine, including chloroform, hydrochloric acid, etc.
      Here in Canada we’ve adopted the opposite approach; handing out needles to addicts so that they don’t end up picking used ones up off the ground and using them, they don’t go around sharing disease contaminated needles amongst eachother. They even give out crack pipes, apparently because crackheads often have chapped, bleeding, and pustulant lips, and sharing crack pipes spreads disease. Not to mention what kinds of crap lightbulbs can contain.

  15. So if a crack addict can’t buy a pipe from a head shop, is he going to shrug his shoulders and become a state representative?

    It wouldn’t have any adverse affect on the quality of state legislative bodies as far as I can tell.

  16. I would have no problem voting for a former crack addict, but one that wasn’t resourceful enough to make his own piece…

  17. The headline is misleading, it implies a politician had a thought.

    And is a law that may get some crackheads to join the maker community really a bad thing?

  18. I smoke my rock out of my clenched fist, because I’m a man, goddammit. Vote for me for DA or I’ll come ’round and kill you.

    1. Vote for me. I do speed, so you know that I will not rest until that budget is balanced.

  19. When I was a child in the 1970s, there were three “head shops” in my home town. They sold bongs, pipes, and a plastic gun-shaped smoke “injector” called a Fazer, amongst other trinkets. All three shops were closed in the early 1980s, when legislation like this was passed.

    The result? Users learned how to make their own pipes, or rolled instead, or moved on to other drugs that could be snorted, taken as a pill or injected.

    No, this does not mean that banning pipes and bongs will prod users to try the hard stuff. What it does mean is that they will find a way, one way or the other. Hmmm, maybe this will spark an uptick in arts and crafts, as potheads take glass-blowing classes to make their own bongs.

  20. I just met a Florida business owner who said that in order to meet the 75% sales requirement he would simply sell really expensive tobacco – which would come with a “complementary” pipe or water-pipe.

  21. And I believe that if you ban paper you can stop smoking.

    Never take policy advice from an ex-crack addict.

  22. What’s weird is that it still allows tobacconists and gag-gift shops to sell them. (more than 75% related sales or less than 25%)

    This is just an attempt to outlaw traditional ‘head shops’, and a bad one, cause the head shops will just claim that their biggest sellers are clothes, and bongs are only 20% of their business.

    But now he gets to tell the squares he did his best to get rid of them.

  23. I admit that not a huge amount of tax revenue is generated from the sale if this stuff, but I’m surprised they all just voluntarily gave it away, cause now this stuff is just going to be purchased online…

  24. I question his claims to ever having been involved with drugs.

    While the engineering prowess of weed smokers is nigh MacGyver rated, surely crackheads can’t be too far behind, if not in elegance and beauty, at least in improvisation.


  25. Tweakers & Stoners will merely see this as a challenge, surely? I’m pretty sure I can still make a pipe/bong out of anything. Hell, you could make a one-hitter out of dirt & puddle-water if you really had to.

  26. Right now, at this very moment, there is an electric drill, a tube of superglue, and a glass bottle within arms’ reach. If I want a bong, I can make one without leaving my seat.

  27. Yes, that’ll work. I mean, no stoner has EVER had the thought: “That would make a great bong.”

    No fanatic like a convert, isn’t that right Mr Rouson?

  28. Can I be the first person to encourage any Florida-based crackheads to snap off Mr Rouson’s car aerial to use as smoking apparatus? Nothing quite like irony to make that toot go down easier…

  29. I think the most dubious thing about this whole story is that this guy actually gave up crack. All the evidence suggests he smokes it in his office when he writes legislation.

  30. I’m a pharmacist who dispenses methadone, and what my patients use as crack pipes are the inhaler boots that come with, say, a Ventolin inhaler.

  31. Making a bong is sometimes half the fun. Smoking through a beautifully airtight home-made bong is unbelievably satisfying.

    PET Bottle + can of drink + 12cm length of hose + lighter = bong

  32. Cool, now everyone will just order all their smoking supplies online, or create their own smoking devices. This is a stupid bill. If you want people to stop using drugs, then the best way to go at it, is to educate the people. And I mean with the truth, because most students in high school know that a lot of what is said about cannabis is overly exaggerated.

  33. What a tool! I think he smoked crack to long and the effects have fried a crucial link to this man’s thought process.

    Banning pipes and bongs will do nothing for anyone who does drugs full-time or the occasional recreational user. These items are not gateways into the use of drugs but simply a cooler more available means to smoke them in.
    If they are gone and no longer accessable even a crazy crack addict can make their own smoking vessel. To think these items are so crucial to the drug smoking public makes one think….whomever thought of this ban must be on crack!….or used to be….

  34. “No! Really officer . . . the forceps are for removing the dry fly from the fish’s mouth.”

  35. Only thing worse then a crack head is a politician. This will do nothing but open up a black market for pipes and bongs in FL. Hell the drug dealers will start selling the things. They will have specials like buy three bags and get a free pipe.

  36. Hi,

    Are there any Florida laws prohibiting a gas station selling tobacco / drug pipes next to a high school? I can’t seem to find one.


  37. ok so theres a real easy way around this law ,, so you simply set a small bag of tobacco next to each piece of tobacco acc. you wish to sell ,, simply put the price you want for the tobacco acc. on the bag of tobacco , you simply sell them the tobacco ( for the price you want for the acc. ) and give them the acc for free ,, all you have done is sold tobacco and gave the acc away for free , and everyone will be happy :)

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